Alternate IDs

Record as many alternate identifiers with each EIDR record as possible (there is no limit to how many may be included), but only include those that apply to that particular record: e.g., do not include an Abstraction ID in an Edit record or a Series ID in an Episode record.

  • Type: Select the generic Type from the list provided (IMDB, ISAN, Ad-ID, etc.) or Proprietary[1] for types not in the list. When using Proprietary, you must also specify an identifying Domain.
  • Relation: In most cases, the EIDR ID and the Alternate ID refer to the same thing in the same way. If they do not, then include a Relation: e.g., IsEntirelyContainedBy, ContainsAllOf, IsPartiallyContainedBy, etc. If no Relation is included, then IsSameAs is assumed.

NOTE: When evaluating a Relation, it is read “[EIDR ID] [Relation] [Alternate ID]”: e.g., 10.5240/5868-409E-7BFB-536A-6067-E IsSameAs tt0076759.

Alternate IDs in De-Duplication

Alternate IDs are used as one of the factors in record matching/de-duplication. Only those Alt IDs with no Relation (assumed to be IsSameAs) or an explicit IsSameAs Relation are considered. Alternate IDs are particularly useful in de-duplication because they can link records that have relatively little in common otherwise, leading to much more accurate results and cleaner data in the registry. As a result, we both encourage the inclusion of all available Alternate Identifiers as well as giving proper care and attention to making sure the Alternate IDs match correctly to the submitted record. The latter is not normally an issue for internal or house IDs, but is very important when providing third party IDs.

Duplicate Alternate IDs

Whenever possible, assign Alternate IDs at the same level as the EIDR ID, so that they have a one-to-one relationship, indicated with an IsSameAs Relation.[2] If a particular EIDR record has more than one Alternate ID of the same kind, then the Alternate ID is probably recorded at the wrong level: e.g., it could be an Edit ID recorded at the EIDR Abstraction or a Language Version ID recorded at the EIDR Edit. Move the IDs to more suitable EIDR records to establish a one-to-one relationship between what each ID identifies. If that is not possible (generally because the Alternate ID supplier is not matching/registering at the appropriate level), then explicitly note this relationship to show that the IDs are not referencing the same thing.

  • If there really are multiple Alternate IDs of the same kind for exactly the same EIDR ID, then identify one as IsSameAs and the other as Duplicate.
  • Use Deprecated for Alternate IDs that were once valid, but have now been deleted or aliased to another Alternate ID (since third party sources may still record and rely upon this Alternate ID even though the issuing source no longer does).

Alternate ID Use Cases

Additional Alternate ID special cases include:

  • For Composites and Compilations, do not include any Alternate IDs for included items explicitly identified by an EIDR ID. Place the Alternate ID in the included EIDR record instead. However, if the included items are not enumerated by EIDR IDs, then do include the Alternate IDs with a ContainsAllOf Relation (if the entire Alternate ID identified asset is included within the EIDR identified asset) or a ContainsPartOf Relation (if only a portion of the Alternate ID identified asset is included).
  • When an Alternate ID references a composite or compilation type asset, it should be placed in a matching EIDR Composite or Compilation with an IsSameAs Relation. If the appropriate EIDR record does not exist, then the Alternate ID can be placed in each of the included EIDR records with either an IsEntirelyContainedBy or IsPartiallyContainedBy Relation, depending on how much of the EIDR ID identified asset is included within the Alternate ID identified asset.
  • Retail IDs are usually EIDR Edit[3] or Manifestation IDs. They are rarely Abstraction IDs.
  • Use the Other Relation when the relationship between the EIDR ID identified asset and the Alternate ID identified asset is not properly expressed by one of the available Relations. This will prevent the misleading assumption that there is a one-to-one relationship between the Assets or their IDs, which would have been implied by the lack of an Alternate ID Relation.[4]
  • IMDb provides IDs for root Abstractions, Series, and Episodes and occasionally for Compilations. There may be a difference in definition that causes an IMDb ID to appear in an unexpected place, but as a rule, they are not found on Seasons, Clips, Edits, or Manifestations.
  • ISAN IDs (the 16-digit version or the 24-digit version with all zeros in the final 8 digits before the second check character) should only appear on Abstraction records (root records and Episodes, but not Seasons or Series). All Episodes (and no other type of record) should have an ISAN ID with something other than zeros in the 4th block (digits 13-16). V-ISANs (the 24-digit numbers with something other than all zeros in the final 8 significant digits) should appear on Edits and Manifestations, but not Abstract records of any kind. Difference in definitions and occasional ISAN registration errors may result in deviations from this practice.
  • ISAN has a synthetic Series ID, extracted from the first 12-digits of the common Episode IDs. In EIDR, this is registered as a Proprietary type with the domain “isan.org/serial”. These may occasionally be found on Season records due to differences in definition and the occasional ISAN registration error.

NOTE: For a full list of the Alternate ID Types and Relations, please see the “Alternate ID Details” section of Data Fields Reference.


[1] “Proprietary” is used in the standards community sense, meaning an ID that is not part of a published standard. It does not imply any sort of proprietary nature in the intellectual property sense.

[2] The noted exception being HasCueSheet, which is used to identified an associated music cue sheet. It is related to the asset referenced by the EIDR ID, but it is not the same.

[3] This includes Compilations of Edits. The Compilation is a root-level record, but it behaves in all other respects as if it were an Edit since it is a collection of Edits (or as a Manifestation, if it is a collection of Manifestations).

[4] If you find yourself doing this more than once, contact the EIDR Help Desk for assistance. We may need to add a new Alternate ID Relation to address your use case.

Updated on April 9, 2021

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